Comic Strips: How Do You Download Apps?


I think many of us remember making tin can phones when we where children.  It was so easy.  You get two cans and a long piece of string and you get a way to communicate across the room or from the tree house to the back door.  Ahhh the simpler days of our innocence.

Many of the children understood this comic right away when it came out and the parents all had a chuckle.  The parents of the children even said that they could see their daughter saying that.

However, I love one of the girl’s questions the best.  She asked “Why did you have the kids asking such silly questions?”  My answer was, “That’s because many children do.  If you actually stop and listen to what you children ask, even you would have to laugh.”  Of course she said no they don’t, but then on cue, a child asked after reading the comic, “Yeah, how do you download apps?”

I just looked at the girl and we both shared a laugh.

 

March2013NL04

Proud Canadian Military History


Fort York Courtesy of National Post

Fort York
Courtesy the National Post

Yesterday, we in Toronto celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York.  For those of you how do not know that was a battle that was fought in now Toronto in 1813(then called York).  Back then the colonies of what would become Canada fought against the Americans in the war of 1812.  They attacked the city/town and the fort on April 27, 1813.  The defenders of York could not hold against the American army so they blow-up the power magazine so not to fall into the hands of the enemy.  The explosion was so large that the attacking army suffered heavy loses.

  The attacking Americans were so upset by this they proceeded to loot and burn buildings in the city.  Many citizens were not motivated to fight the Americans but after these acts by their forces, the people rallied and took a not active stance against the Americans.  The Americans won the battle but it was not as decisive as they thought it would be and it helped to spur on a people.

Military Parade  Courtesy of CP24

Military Parade
Courtesy  CP24

  Yesterday we celebrated this moment in our history.  We usually do not celebrate military victories but I for one am glad that we did.  We Canadians may not have been born out of conflict like the Americans, or glorify our battles like the English, French, Germans or Russians but we are still proud of what our soldiers have done to protect our country.

  For even though our national symbol may be a beaver, the heart that beats within would terrify any eagle, bear or lion.

Friday Two Cents: It Does Effect the Children *50th Post*


twoCentsOldNew

When I first started this blog in November I was not sure if I would have the time to post anything on a regular basis.  But here I am almost 5 ½ months later posting my 50th post.  Wow.  I guess I do have something to say every week.  Hopefully this week can stir up a debate or two.  I am posting a poll question that the children posed to me and I am wondering what you think about it.  You can see the poll at the end of the post, but first the background story.

This week I had a very interesting discussion with a couple of children in grade 5 about the validity of all things, guns.  These children are very inquisitive and are unusually motivated to understand the world around them.  On many occasions they would approach me and ask questions on local politics, issues and news worthy items of the day.  The positive aspect about these children is that their parents encourage their inquisitive behaviour and welcome my point of view to their child’s exploration and discovery.

This week they asked me if I was in favour of guns.  I asked them if they were and they said no, (knew what their response would be).  I asked why and they came back with, with the shootings in Connecticut, the bombings in subsequent shootout in Boston and the bank robbery and shooting in Toronto, we would be better off.  That guns kill people, they said.

Well if you know me I am an instigator of debate and I love to play “Devil’s Advocate”, so I argued the opposite side.  I told them that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  Guns are just a tool like a baseball bat or hammer.  A hammer is a tool used to serve a need but it takes a person to take a hammer to kill, that makes it wrong.  You don’t see society banning baseball bats or hammers.

I did say that guns are tools but they should be regulated and kept out of the hands of children and people who do not understand the power of that tool.  Just like a car can be used as a weapon, we limit who can have a license.  We should do the same with guns.

They appreciated my honestly and still said that we should ban all guns.  I told them that I wanted to let them know that there are always two sides to every argument.  Equally as passionate and determined as themselves.

The argument and debate made me stop and think about something though.  No, not about the gun debate but how the world issues are effecting the children. I love to see them open their minds to different ideas and possibilities, that’s why I play the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ with them.  However it would appear that these issues are creeping into the lives of our children.

I know many parents try to shelter their children from those issues and they have good reasons too.  But then I see these children embarrassing the issues and wanting to know more. We try to protect them from the world, yet they are seeking it out on their own.

I have to wonder if we are sheltering them too much.  Because despite our best efforts, these issues do effect the children after all.

The Captain and The Baroness, Chapter 4: Rally the Forces


MapTable02

Rally the Forces

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” Eleanor Roosevelt

These words rang true to me when I was feeling the most miserable I have ever felt in my life.  I stated before, someone special to me inspired this story.  Her presence inspired me to draw, write and create something unique.  Unfortunately, we broke up and I fell into a great pit of sadness.

For a time I did not want to do anything, to just shut down.  But I found the strength to preserver and the only way I got out of this melancholy was through my art.  I began writing, drawing, painting and playing music again.  I found the strength to look my fears in the face and do what I thought I could not do.  Press on with life.

I continued with the story of The Captain and The Baroness and it allowed me the outlet I needed.  In this chapter I looked back to my own military training and discipline for assistance.  I rallied my forces within my own soul to defend against the invaders of doubt and grief.  I was never afraid to stand up to difficulties and fight my way past them before, so why start now.  I decided to, “go to the mattresses” (Godfather), take up a war stance or prepare for war against these feelings.

In the fourth chapter, “Rally the Forces”, we see the Captain’s country invaded by the person he cared for and protected.  Betrayal and anger is all around, but one must never attack in anger for if one does, they have already lost.  For “The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.” Sun Tzu.  The Captain must rally his forces and put aside the feelings of betrayal and think of the well-being of his people not just his own feelings.

Is that not what a great leader does?

Hope you enjoy the story and the images.

RallytheForces

RallytheForces2

RallytheForces3

Friday Two Cents: The Important Things


twoCentsOldNew

After a stressful week I thought I would write about something that happened to me that makes you realise what are the important things in life.  Of course it came for the innocence of the children.

This week, I was able to get all four days of practice in for the eight teams in the t-ball and softball leagues at my school.  Two of the days are with the older children doing softball and two days with the kindergartens, grades 1 & 2s.  Each day I would take out two teams and show them the basics of the game and hopefully the children will learn something and of course have fun.

Unfortunately, last week I had to cancel our first day of training camp for two of the T-ball teams.  I don’t do much the first week, just throwing catching and the basics of where to run after hitting the ball.  Believe me, you might think that is a given but kindergarten children need, little reminders.  It is not the first time I have had hitters and base runners run after the ball or just run to the dug out. Hm, Hm, Hm.

But getting back to the canceled day, the children were a bit disappointed but I told them I would show them all what we missed the following week.  Thank goodness this week we had some better weather and we did get the practice in.  I asked them if they had fun and that they enjoyed themselves and they said that they did.  However, after we cleaned up and were going in, the other Kindergarten teacher came to me and said that the children had a complaint.  I was intrigued so I asked the teacher and the children what the complaint was so I can fix the problem.

You are not going to believe this but their complaint was that they never got the see the baseball movie I showed the other teams.  I usually show Goofy: How the Play Baseball after the first week practice just to have a fun start to the season.  I forgot to show the video to them and yet it is something very important to them.  So I told the children that after next week’s practice I will bring in the video and we can watch it together.  They all smiled and were happy with the solution, but I have to say that I smiled a big smile after too.

With all the tragedies in the world and stress we have in our lives, I guess it takes the innocence of a child to remind us what is really important.  Playing with your friends, learning something new, enjoying ourselves and maybe a mini movie of Goofy playing baseball are truly the important things.

Friday Two Cents: Unlocking the Warmth


twoCentsOldNew

If you live in Toronto, Canada, this past week was far from what you might think of as spring.  The week started off that way but half way through the week we experienced winter’s return with freezing rain, ice pellets and wet snow.  Hardly the nice spring days we want.  In a word “Gloomy”.

However, a couple of spring activities started at my school to hopefully brighten the gloom. The first one is Baseball and T-ball Spring training. I run a house softball and t-ball leagues and you will not see the children’s sprits dampen by this weather.  Even when I do the warm-up routine with the children, they’re eagerness motivates me to push on.  The looks on their faces spurs me on and the children see my enthusiasm and their faces show genuine joy.

I think the fact that they are out doing something with their friends really makes the difference.  I saw this mostly with the kindergarten and grades 1 & 2 children when we were learning how to catch and throw for t-ball.  No matter how many times they might throw that ball, the kindergartens can never catch it.  However, they are the first to pick up that ball and try again.  Adorable comes to mind.

The second great activity is a program a few teachers are doing with the girls.  While I was working with the children on t-ball I observed my colleagues with a group of girls doing their own program called “Girls on the Run”.  A program that encourages girls to explore their limitless potential through fun experience based curriculum.  I saw the same joy and determination on their faces as well.

Perhaps it’s as simple as being active and doing something with others.  I know I felt better working with the children, the same feeling I saw in the faces of the teachers who do Girls on the Run.  The joy of sharing an experience is the key to unlocking the warmth within you, even on the gloomiest day.

Comic Strips: I’m Not Ready to Grow-up Yet


Being a kid is hard these days, but being an adolescent is becoming harder still.  This comic comes out of the difficultly that children have to face when they enter adolescence.  I don’t know about you but I remember it not being as hard as it is for the children today.  However let me clarify a couple of things about adolescence.

Everyone thinks that adolescence starts at 13 or 12 and goes to 19.  But today experts say that it starts in the second decade of life, from the ages of 10 to 20.  These young people are going through changes in their life, when a child starts to turn into an adult. A most confusing time for them and you cannot really blame them.

Imagine many of them are sent to a new school with new people (middle school), their friends are changing because of puberty, that’s if they even go to the new school with them.  Then finally their own desire to grow up and be adults, but at the same time an internal conflict to still have the safely of being a child. No wonder many have problems and don’t look back at their teenage years with fondness.

Well working with older children I see the beginnings of that struggle.  That is where the idea of the comic comes from.  Yet I like to put a funny spine on the issue.

When I posted the comic the children loved it and they got it right away.  The parents thought it was cute, but I know that many of them have that feeling that their little girl or boy is growing up.  Many of the parents talked too me about this subject and they are not looking forward to it.  They know that it is a natural progression, however I see in their eyes that they wish they could spare their children the heartache of what will come.

We adults have lived through those difficult adolescent years and unfortunately; we have to let our children suffer through it as well.  We survived the ordeal and I think many of us are pretty stable people.  I know it will hurt parents to see their children feel that pain but they need to and it will make them better people for it.  Just like their parents.

Feb2013NL02

Friday Two Cents: A Calming, Spot Of Tea


twoCentsOldNew

I believe many of you with children probably don’t give them tea as a beverage of choice.  Mostly you would offer them milk, juice or water as a regular beverage and they would probably ask for one of these as a normal drink.  However, have you ever tried offering them a spot of tea?

Being Maltese, I was raised by parents who are very British in their manner, and a cup of tea was a staple at many meals in my house hold.  We also had tea time a 4 o’clock with biscuits or other finger foods.  At these moments, it was a time for conversation and polite discord, on whatever subject that would arise.

Therefore, today I decided to have a tea party with the children at the school and see what would happen.  Our theme this week was Mythology and I told them a tale from Classic, Norse or Celtic Myth each day.  Today I would tell them about the Arthur legend and then in proper English fashion have a cup of tea after.

We sat and I told them about the Arthur legend and the only word that can describe their reaction was ‘amazement’.  After, we had our tea party.  I had several pots of tea available as well as different cookies/biscuits and chocolate treats for them.  I was expecting them to be a little unruly but to my pleasant surprise they were all well-behaved, dare I say civilized.  They took their tea, a cookie and treat and sat down and had wonderful conversations with each other.

The room was an activity of pleasant conversations and they were all engaged.  I even grabbed a cup and biscuit and joined in on their conversations.  This might sound a bit sexist but I expected the girls to behave themselves, however the boys were as well.  The entire experience was enjoyable for everyone involved.

However the biggest surprise was after they had their tea. The children went off to different activities, but they were all very calm and engaged.  Perhaps the tea party helped to mellow them out a bit.  I am not sure, but the rest of the afternoon was quiet and pleasurable.

Maybe the tea had a calming down effect or the whole activity of sitting and enjoying each other’s company did it.  What ever it was maybe we all need, children and adults, an opportunity to sit and just have a spot of tea.

Follow up to Friday Two Cents: A New Adventure


Follow up

 twoCentsOldNew

I don’t usually do a Sunday entry, yet it is a long weekend and I thought it would be nice to do a follow-up to the Friday Two Cents piece.  Continuing from Friday’s thoughts, I did go to Guelph on Saturday and I am glad I did so.

The day started as a beautiful spring morning. The sunshine with only a few clouds to dot the sky.  Leaving the city on such a fine morning was just what I needed.  Once in Guelph the feelings of serenity just washed over me like a cool mountain spring.  The noise, pollution and hectic atmosphere of Toronto was gone, replaced with a peace and simplicity I have not felt in quite some time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The main reason was to go to the university and do some studying and work on my paper.  Well that was accomplished but after I walked around the university campus and city to just look around and take in the scenes.  I had been going non-stop since September and it was wonderful to slow down and just take in the simple things.  Robins singing, people out for a walk, sitting and reading, having the sun caress your skin and feeling your lungs fill with air that you cannot see.

However, in the end I had to return home and the responsibilities I have, but I came to a realization that day.  I have lived my enter life in Toronto and I never thought I would ever live anywhere else.  Well I think that might not be the case anymore.

Once my schooling is over, I am going to actively look for work in a smaller city.  It does not have to be Guelph but Toronto has become a place of dejection and constant conflict.  I have had enough of fighting and I promise myself and God that if I survive my education and anything else that comes my way, I will look for a nice quit place somewhere. A place where I can live in peace.

Dram Du Jour

A celebration of whisky from an enthusiast

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

doug --- off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

The Trombonist's Mouthpiece

Music, education, and philosophy

Paul Gauchi

My innermost thoughts I wish to share. These things Inspire me, maybe they will inspire you.

Lucia Lorenzi

the body politic: musings and meanderings

Luciana Cavallaro

Award-Winning Author

The Art Studio by Mark Moore

Where Imagination Becomes Realality

Daniel is funny

Monsters, Jokes, Analogies

A Step onto the Road

The journeying of a literary hopeful

teachingontheverge

Thinking deeply about education

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Belief Blog

Spreading the Power of Belief

The First Gates

Stories, Dreams, Imagination, Soul